By Allison Zisko
Oneida has a bright future under its new owner, with big business opportunities overseas and in the glassware business, said departing CEO Jim Joseph, who remains on the company’s board of directors and will be involved in building “a truly global tabletop company.”
Oneida was acquired by Monomoy Capital Partners late last year. Monomoy is a New York-based private equity firm that also owns glassware company Anchor Hocking.
There are many advantages to having Anchor Hocking as a corporate sibling. The biggest opportunity is in foodservice glass, Joseph said. Anchor is currently the number three producer in foodservice glassware, according to Joseph, and by partnering with Oneida, the leader in foodservice flatware, “we believe we can move them up a notch.”
The American-made Anchor Hocking brand, meanwhile, will open doors for Oneida in the consumer glass business, particularly in the department store channel of distribution. Joseph envisions Anchor maintaining its strong mass market business while Oneida-branded glassware could be a strong department store brand.
Monomoy plans to be aggressive in building its overseas business, according to Joseph. It has a fledgling flatware business in China right now, which it hopes to expand, along with business in Korea and Japan. Brazil represents another opportunity, as does Europe, where Oneida already has a footprint in the U.K. “We have a nice business in the U.K., and we think we can leverage the heck out of Anchor Hocking — and Oneida — there,” Joseph said.
Joseph, who has been with the company for 24 years, remains CEO of Oneida until Jan. 31 – a date that is flexible, he said, depending on when a successor is named (no announcement was made by press time). He then begins a new role as Executive in Residence at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., where he will write, lecture and mentor future business leaders and will be involved in a case study of Oneida as part of the college’s position as the center of a new Jesuit business case series that focuses on leadership and ethics. “I have the ability to live in both worlds,” Joseph said, referring to his academic role at LeMoyne, which is his alma mater, and his position on the Oneida board.
Regarding the Oneida case study, the Jesuit center’s first, Joseph said, “there’s so much to tell about the Oneida story,” from its beginnings as a religious community more than 100 years ago, to its industrialization, globalization, bankruptcy and successful emergence from bankruptcy, to its current position in the flatware category, in which it has a 28 percent market share. “We believe we have a book in the making,” he said.